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COOK OF THE WEEK - FRAN HOFFMAN

By looking at the picture of our Cook of the Week, it is easy to see that Fran Hoffman loves to collect recipes. She has a whole shelf of recipe books on her right. On her left is an antique china cabinet that protects and displays some of her favorite pieces of china. The three bowls on the top shelf belonged to her maternal grandmother and the blue and white patterned bowl and serving platter on the second shelf belonged to her paternal grandmother. What fun to be able to cherish the memories she has (of her grandmothers using these dishes) that she now cherishes as heirlooms.
Fran and her husband, Bob Hoffman, are fairly new to the Humboldt community, moving into Humboldt from Renwick just this past summer. She already knows a lot of people in Humboldt since she is retired from nursing and worked at the Humboldt County Memorial Hospital for over 20 years. Bob was a farmer and a Crop Insurance adjuster and still maintains his job as an adjuster for crop insurance.
Fran was raised in Jewell and graduated from the Iowa Lutheran School of Nursing. Bob had always lived in Renwick until moving into Humboldt this past summer. They met on a blind date, double dating with friends. We all know the rest of that story! They farmed together in Renwick for 53 years of their 58 married years. Fran and Bob raised five children. Their three daughters all live in Iowa, Laurie in Nevada, Julie in Newton and Tricia in Waukee. Their two sons both live in Minnesota, Bob lives in Blaine and Mike resides in St. Paul. Fran and Bob always attended the Methodist Church in Renwick and now they are attending Faith United Methodist Church in Humboldt and hope to transfer their membership soon.
Fran enjoys reading and quilting and is also in a Bridge Club, the Cosmopolitan Club of Renwick and a group for Retired Nurses. Bob enjoys reading and carving. He is adjusting to living in town by keeping busy feeding some wild turkeys in their backyard. He is having good luck as they keep returning. From the rear of their home they can look over a ravine so they have a perfect place to feed some of the wildlife that might visit them.
She lists a favorite menu as steak, baked potato and tossed salad. She has shared many of her family’s favorite recipes and says she is just a common farm-wife cook, with nothing fancy or gourmet. But sometimes these plain farm meals are the most delicious!

Party Potatoes
Line a large brownie pan with a long piece of foil, enough to overlap and cover the top of the potatoes. Peel and slice (rather thickly) the desired amount of potatoes into the pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Fry and crumble 8 to 10 slices of bacon and put on top of the potatoes. Drizzle about 1/4 cup of bacon drippings over the top. Slice a large onion over the top and sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. Wrap tightly in foil and bake about 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

Ham Chowder
4 cups ham, cubed
6 potatoes, cubed
1 cup carrots, sliced or grated
1 cup celery, cut up
1 cup chopped onion
1 quart thin cream sauce
2 cups grated cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups water or bouillon water
Cook vegetables in water or bouillon until tender; do not drain. Make thin cream sauce: 1/2 cup oleo, 1/2 to 3/4 cup flour, and 1 quart milk. Add to vegetable mixture. Add ham, salt and pepper and grated cheese.
NOTE: I have halved this recipe occasionally and I’ve cooked vegetables until crisp tender and put into the crockpot on low.

Apple Cake
4 cups chopped apples
1/2 cup margarine
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons soda
2 eggs
chopped nuts
Cream margarine and sugar, add eggs. Mix in dry ingredients and then stir in chopped apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes in greased 9 x 13 inch cake pan. Serve with warmed cinnamon sauce.
Cinnamon Sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups boiling water
Combine dry ingredients and add water and boil until clear. Add 3 tablespoons margarine and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Top with a dollop of Cool Whip if desired.

Raisin Cupcakes
2 cups seedless raisins
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1-3/4 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a saucepan combine raisins, water and baking soda; bring to a boil. Cool to lukewarm. In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Blend in raisin mixture. Gradually add flour and salt to creamed mixture. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake in a 350 degree oven 30-35 minutes. Frost when cool with Butterscotch Frosting.
Butterscotch Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Combine brown sugar and butter, heat until it boils. In a small bowl combine powdered sugar and milk, gradually beat in heated mixture. Continue to beat until smooth and spreadable.

Caramel French Toast
12 slices Texas toast bread
For the caramel:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup butter
Melt caramel ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove and pour into a sprayed 9x13 inch pan. Place 6 slices of toast in the pan. Sprinkle with half of 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon mixture. Place other 6 slices on top. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Egg mixture to pour over all:
6 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon almond flavor
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Bake in a 350-degree oven until browned on top and done.

Symphony Bars
1 family size chewy brownie
mix
(3) 6 ounces Symphony candy
bars with toffee and almonds
(can purchase at Fareway,
Hy-Vee and Walgreen’s)
Mix brownies per package directions. Pour half of the batter in a greased 9x13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Place the 3 candy bars on top and cover with the rest of the batter and bake for another 23 minutes. Test with toothpick for doneness and bake longer if necessary. ENJOY!

Pink Champagne Salad
8 ounce package cream cheese,
softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large can crushed pineapple,
drained
10 ounce package sliced frozen
strawberries, thawed
2 bananas, sliced and quartered
9 ounce tub Cool Whip
Mix the cream cheese and sugar. Add the fruit and Cool Whip. Place in a 9x13 inch glass dish and freeze. Thaw slightly to serve.

Bok Choy Salad
1 large bunch Bok Choy
4 green onions
Wash and cut into small pieces using greens of both and set aside.
3 to 4 tablespoons margarine,
melted
1 package Ramen noodles
(chicken, oriental), using
flavor packet, also break
noodles into small pieces
6 or 8 ounces sliced almonds
Mix together and bake at 275 degrees for approximately 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Watch so it doesn’t get too brown. Let cool. Just before serving, mix all ingredients together in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with approximately 3/4 cup sugar. Then add 1/4 cup Nakano seasoned rice vinegar. Mix well.

Country Sausage-Hash Brown Casserole
2 pounds Country Sausage (hot
or mild)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
10-3/4 ounce can of cream of
chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
8 ounce container of French
onion dip
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup each green and red bell
peppers
salt and pepper to taste
30 ounce package frozen hash
brown shredded potatoes,
thawed
In a skillet, cook the sausage until browned. Drain well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cheese, chicken soup, sour cream, French onion dip, chopped onion, bell peppers, salt and pepper. Fold in thawed hash brown potatoes. Mix well. Spread half of the hash brown mixture over bottom of a 9x13 inch greased baking pan. Spread half of the browned sausage over hash browns.
Repeat layering second half of hash brown mixture. Top with remaining sausage. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until casserole is golden brown.

Pretzel Salad
1 cup pretzels, broken up
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
Bake 7 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Stir until cool.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
20 ounces pineapple tidbits,
drained
8 ounces Cool Whip
Mix cream cheese, sugar, pineapple and cool whip together. Just before serving mix in the cooled pretzel mixture.

Orange Slice Cookies
From Bob’s mother.
1 cup (or more) orange slices
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup coconut
Cut up orange slices and sprinkle lightly with flour. Set aside. Combine white and brown sugars with shortening. Add eggs, milk and vanilla. Sift flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Add to first mixture. Add oatmeal, coconut and orange slices. Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees 10 to 12 minutes. Oven temperature may vary. Fran bakes them at 300 degrees.

Hawaiian Hula Bars
3/4 cup butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup crushed drained pineapple
2 blocks chocolate
1/2 cup nuts
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and add to creamed mixture. In another bowl, combine 1 cup of the batter and pineapple. Add chocolate and nuts to remaining batter. Spread most of chocolate mixture in 9 x 13 inch pan. Cover with the pineapple mixture.
Drop remaining chocolate mixture over top and spread carefully. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Cool and frost.

If you are reading this, then you probably enjoy new recipes. If you would like to share some of your recipes with the community YOU could be Cook of the Week. Please contact me if you would like to be in this column some week. I can be reached by phone at 515-373-6346 or email me at sacuthbe@msn.com. I will be happy to email or send you my short questionnaire and set up a time to come and visit you at your convenience. I’m always looking for NEW Cooks of the Week. Also if you are new in town, this is a good way to introduce yourself to the Humboldt County and surrounding communities. I will look forward to visiting with you.
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.